Nathalie Hounvo Yekpe, lauréate de la résidence d’écriture francophone Afriques-Haïti 2024

Nathalie Hounvo Yekpe, a Beninese author, actress, and director, has been named the winner of the 2024 Francophone Africa-Haiti writing residency. This prestigious award will allow her to spend eight weeks in residency at different locations in France to develop her craft. The residency program, a partnership between ALCA and the Institute of Africa, aims to support literary creation, promote the dissemination of Francophone literature, and facilitate the circulation of Francophone authors from Africa and Haiti within the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. This year, the residency will take place at the Maison des Auteur·rice·s de Limoges, the Villa Valmont in Lormont, and the Maison des Écritures in La Rochelle. Nathalie’s unique trajectory reflects a combination of a passion for performing arts and expertise in geography. With a degree in urban planning, she furthered her training at the International Theatre School of Benin, specializing in acting and directing. She also founded the Baani association, which focuses on producing shows and providing workshops for young actors, showcasing her commitment to training and artistic development. Her selection as part of the “Discoveries” program at the Francophonies-Writing to the Scene festival in 2021 was a turning point in Nathalie’s career. This initiative, dedicated to supporting emerging Francophone female authors, allowed her to write her first theatrical work, “Course aux noces,” which was published by Lansman Editeur in 2023. Since then, she has received recognition for her other works, such as “La faiseuse d’anges,” a finalist for the RFI award in 2023, and “Les vivants dans l’ombre,” developed through the Senda program at La Comédie de Valence. During her residency, Nathalie plans to work on a new play inspired by the Agodjiés, an army of women from the Dènhome region in Africa. It will not be a documentary or a biography of Queen Tassi Hangbé, who created this army, but rather a fiction that explores the concept of powerful women, both in history and modern times. The play will also delve into the sacrifices and struggles that come with seeking and holding onto power. Nathalie Hounvo Yekpe’s selection for the 2024 Francophone Africa-Haiti writing residency is a testament to her talent and dedication to the arts. We look forward to seeing the results of her residency and the impact it will have on her future works. Congratulations to Nathalie and all the best during her residency!